Position of hydrogen in periodic table

Hydrogen is the first element of the periodic table. Its atomic number is 1, which indicates the presence of only one electron in the atom of hydrogen. This electron is present in its first shell. Hydrogen resembles both alkali metals (group I A) as well as halogens (group VII A) therefore its position is said to be anomalous.

hydrogen position in the periodic table

Some Basic Features of Hydrogen

Molecular formulaH2
Atomic number1
Mass number1
Atomic mass1.008
Molecular mass2
Electronic configuration1
Valency+ 1 or - 1
Isotopes of Hydrogen

11H Protium
21H Deuterium
31H Tritium

Remember :

Isotopes are atoms of the same element having the same atomic number, but different mass number.

Properties of Hydrogen that Resemble Alkali Metals

Electronic configuration

Hydrogen atom has one electron in its valence shell like alkali metals.


Hydrogen generally shows + 1 valency like alkali metals.

Metallic character

It readily loses its electron to form a positive ion like other alkali metals.

Combination with non-metals

Hydrogen, like the alkali metals, combines readily with non-metals like halogens, oxygen, sulphur, etc.

Reducing agent

Hydrogen is a good reducing agent like other alkali metals.

Properties of Hydrogen that Resemble Halogens

Non-metallic character

Hydrogen is a non-metal like halogens.


Like halogens, hydrogen is diatomic (H2) whereas metals are monoatomic.


Like halogens, hydrogen may also show 1 valency by accepting an electron. Example: NaH (Sodium hydride)

Nature of compounds

Hydrogen combines with non-metals like carbon, silicon, etc. to from covalent compound like halogens.

Examples: CH4 and CCl4.

Remember :

In 1766, Henry Cavendish, an English chemist, discovered hydrogen, by treating iron with dilute sulphuric acid. He also proved that when hydrogen is burnt in air, water is the only product obtained. It was "hydrogen", meaning "water producer" (Hydro = water,

gen = generator or producer). Cavendish called this gas "Inflammable gas". Hydrogen has three isotopes namely protium, deuterium and tritium.